Grandmother speaks out after grandson out of education since last year

PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 March 2020

Grandmother, June Howley,with her grandson Joseph.    Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Grandmother, June Howley,with her grandson Joseph. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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The grandmother of a seven-year-old autistic boy is desperate for more support as her grandchild has been out of full-time education since October.

Grandmother, June Howley,with her grandson Joseph.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONGrandmother, June Howley,with her grandson Joseph. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Joseph John Howley, who has Asperger's, was taken out of his primary school after they said they could 'no longer meet his needs' three weeks into term.

North Somerset Council recommended Joseph attend Westhaven School, in Uphill, which caters for children with special educational needs and disabilities, however, there is currently a shortage of spaces at the school.

Joseph was allocated a home tutor in February this year, but after three weeks of private tutoring his grandmother June Howley was told the tutor could no longer come until 'separate paperwork' had been carried out - a process which could take more than a month.

June, from Weston, said Joseph had been receiving two-hour lessons, twice a week.

She said: 'Any child with this condition that gets plans changed, God help you. How he dealt with it was tragic.

'She (the tutor) had been in for three weeks, and he was really looking forward to her coming.

'Why didn't they do the background checks before?

'Joseph is certainly not the only one on his own. There are children like him with parents trying to get them into school.

'Every child is entitled to a full-time education.'

June, who lives with her grandson to help his parents, said the boy, despite being unable to hold a pen, has taught himself to read, multiply and divide.

Joseph has a photographic memory and can even name all the helicopters at the helicopter museum.

She added: 'When he heard she wasn't coming, it took me an hour to calm him down.

'I don't know how much longer this is going to go on for. It is such a shame.'

A spokesman from North Somerset Council said: 'There is currently a shortage of special school places within North Somerset.

'The council is continuing to explore possible solutions to try and resolve this problem.

'In relation to this particular case, the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) team will continue to work with the family, but in the interests of all those involved, we are unable to comment on an individual case.'

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